Doctor Billings, Law Enforcement Urges Voters Not To Legalize Recreational Marijuana | Local News


Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder speaks during a Wrong for Montana press conference at Pioneer Park in Billings on Thursday.

MIKE CLARK, Billings Gazette

A small group of people, including two law enforcement officials and a local doctor from the Billings Clinic, argued Thursday against the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Wrong for Montana emerged in late September, led by Billings car dealer Steve Zabawa, who had previously fought against the expansion of medical marijuana in 2014 and 2016 to oppose Initiative 90 and the ‘Constitutional Initiative 118, joint initiatives which, if adopted, would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana and set the age for consumption at 21.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized adult-use marijuana in the United States. Medical marijuana is legal in Montana.

The campaign focuses on the “societal costs” of medical marijuana in legalized states like Colorado, and is supported by the Montana Chamber of Commerce, the Montana Contractors Association and the Montana Bankers Association.

At Pioneer Park on Thursday, several local faces emerged to take a stand against legalized recreational marijuana, including Billings Police Chief Rich St. John, Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder and a psychiatrist from the Billings Clinic.

Supporters of legalization, including New Approach Montana which put the question on the November ballot, said Wrong for Montana was peddling myths in an attempt to sway voters.

“We know the majority of Montanians agree that voting on I-I90 and CI-118 is the right decision for Montana,” said Pepper Petersen, spokesperson for New Approach Montana. “Our opponents are spreading disinformation in order to create confusion.”

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